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Dog Training Time-Savers

By Ruth Hagen

Hey, we know you’re busy. Whether it’s summer activities, back-to-school prep, or hectic holidays — life happens. You put dog training on the back burner because it’s just one more thing on your overflowing, overwhelming to-do list. You’ll get to it later. Besides, how on Earth could you possibly divide up your attention and time any further?

Take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and spend 10 minutes with this post. Our short training tip list is designed to easily slip into your on-the-go lifestyle. You’ll see an immediate improvement in your relationship with your dog (or cat). And that might inspire you to fit a little more in each day, right?

A woman in a park using dog training tips and tricks to train her small dog while holding up a treat with her hand.

Pick 3 training goals

Write them down and go public: Post your list in a prominent place. (Isn’t that what your fridge is for?) Be realistic and specific about your dog training goals. Tell housemates about the list. If they want to help, involve them in the list-making process, and/or share the items so that each person has only 1 or 2 goals to reach. Studies show that you’re more likely to achieve goals if you put them in writing, tell others about them, and make it a group effort. It works for keeping resolutions like weight loss, so why not dog training?

Notice & reward the good stuff

The happy truth is that pups offer desired behaviors more than unwanted ones. Human nature drives us to focus on the unpleasant. Ironically, responding to “misbehavior” usually reinforces it. Frustrating, right?

So, switch gears and try a new approach. Put some of your dog’s daily kibble allotment in your pocket at the start of each day. (Really, just do it.)

Consider your list and what you’d like to see more of in the future: not jumping, quiet rather than barking, focusing on you, calmly relaxing on a bed, etc. You get the idea. The instant your pup does any of these on their own, praise and treat! (Or click & treat if you’re clicker training.) They will eagerly repeat whatever made you happily produce pocket-goodies.

Trust us: If you have kibble in your pocket (or a pouch), you’re more likely to notice when your pet is an angel, your reward timing will be amazing, and they will learn faster. Think of yourself as a canine slot machine. She’ll play your game in hopes of your payoff!

A medium-sized dog training with a CLIX Multi-Clicker, along wtih an image of a Jeffers Pet Training Clicker, and a Pro-Training Pet Training Clicker.

Set your pet up to succeed

Prevention and exercise are key to success.

  • Prevent when you can’t train so you make more progress when you can train. Baby gates; crates; supervised, indoor-only leash dragging; chewies & food-dispensing toys as distractions – all help immensely. Prevent today’s unwanted behaviors so they don’t become tomorrow’s hard-to-break bad habits. Think puppy-proofing. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Exercise your pet routinely & adequately. Dog-to-dog play is a great mind and body energy outlet, for example. A happily-tired pooch is truly a better-behaved pooch. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they’re more likely to contentedly rest at home than to challenge boundaries. Voila! Human stress-buster & time-saver!

Slip training into your routine

It’s simple: Ask your pet to do a command or trick before they get things they want. So, if a great recall (“come”) is on your list, for example, call your pet to you for fun things like leash-ons, doors opened, meals, games, etc. You were going to do these things anyway, so take an extra second to train and they will love it. They’ll be highly motivated and focused because they’re working to get things they really want. Instant canine connection and confidence booster!

A graphic wih a PetSafe Treat Puch Sport for training, a CLIX Dog Training Treat Bag, and a CLIX Pro Dog Treat Bag.

Mix it up to keep it fun

Variety truly is the spice of life for people and pets. Vary your commands to keep them guessing. That ups your “watchability” factor. Vary training locations so they listen to you wherever you are. Vary the people who work with your dog so they listen to whoever they’re with. (Why not trade training items from your fridge list every week?) Training fails when boredom sets in.

Try incorporating game play into your routine: Why not have your dog “sit-stay” before you release them to “find” their meal, or maybe their leash before a walk? Are you gardening today? Take a break and call your dog to “come” as you run away from them. Or call them to “come” back and forth between family members while you soak up the sun. Play these games on your away-from-home outings, too – at a park or a friend’s house. We love Pat Miller’s book, “Play with Your Dog” for more boredom-busting game ideas. Bonus: It’s a great summer read, loaded with ideas for rainy-day play!

So, our time’s up, and we know you have to go. Consider our tips. If all goes well, and you find training time you didn’t think you had in your day – fabulous! It’s more doable than you thought. Maybe add a few new items to that list on your fridge. By year’s end, you’ll reflect on your terrific progress. Best of all: You and your dog will be better friends.

Looking to stock up on more training supplies? Browse Jeffers’ full selection of dog training and behavioral aids.

For more dog training tips, check out Jeffers Pet’s blog, Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Methods.

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Reprinted with permission from Ruth Hagen.

About Ruth Hagen

Ruth Hagen is a writer, pet trainer and behaviorist who has been teaching people and their pets for over 20 years. Her well-rounded background includes many years in veterinary nursing and a B.S. in Biology. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG).  She has authored articles for “North Bay Pets Magazine” and consulted for “Cat Fancy” magazine. Ruth is also the founder of Critter Consulting pet training services and The Soulful Pet, where she explores and celebrates the bonds we share with pets through her writing and her work as a Pet-life Guide (PLG)™.